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Monday, March 30, 2015

Cooking with Banshee: Caramelized Onion Dip

March Madness is getting down to the nitty gritty.  That's a perfect time to break out a new dip.  This Caramelized Onion Dip is casual in appearance but gourmet in taste.  I originally found this recipe at, but I made some minor alterations and added my own techniques.

Caramelized Onion Dip

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, diced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and thyme to the pan.  Sauté onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes or until soft and golden brown.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Add sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise and parmesan cheese to the pan.  Stir until all cheeses are melted and blended.  And remaining ingredients and stir until blended.

Transfer to a serving dish.  Serve warm with crackers, tortilla chips or pretzels.  Enjoy!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Temper Temper: Sports Tantrums of Winter

It's been a long, cold winter for most of the country.  But, despite, the frigid temperatures, the tempers remained hot in sports stadiums and arenas.

1.  Miami Beach Brawl.  Winter was only one day old when BYU played Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl.  Memphis outlasted BYU in double overtime by a score of 55-48, but when the game ended, the players weren't ready to be done hitting.  Much like a heavyweight boxing match, there is a lot of milling around, followed by some hellacious haymakers.  You can go ahead and skip to the 2:40 mark on this video to get right to the fight.  Since this is the last game of the season for both teams, no one was disciplined this season.  Twenty-two returning players from both teams are facing discipline at the start of next season.

2.  Kevin Garnett's Butt.  Headbutt that is.  I don't know what it is about Dwight Howard, but he seems to bring out the nasty side of many opponents.  Of course, Kevin Garnett doesn't really need an excuse to get angry.  This incident from January 12, 2015 is not the most exciting fight I've ever seen, but any time you decide to use your own face as a weapon, that deserves some recognition.

3.  Hockey Haymakers.  Most sports fights look a lot like an eighth grade dance.  A lot of milling around.  Very little action.  But this fight between Ryan White of the Flyers and Matt Martin of the Islanders on February 5, 2015, had more punches landed than in most Mayweather PPV bouts.

4.  Cat Fight.  The only reason that is an appropriate heading is because this fight happens between the Texas Southern Tigers and the Southern Jaguars.  Texas Southern had a one game lead in the SWAC standings when they hosted Southern on March 8, 2015.  Southern had a two-point lead midway through the second half when this bench clearing brawl broke out.  It was so violent that officials ended the game.  As a result, the two teams ended up tied for the regular season title.  My favorite part of this video comes at the 1:45 mark when the Texas Southern mascot does a swagger prance at mid court.

5.  A Gentleman's Game.  "Not my best moment."  That's how Rory McIlroy described this tantrum on the back nine of the 2nd round of the WGC Championships in early March.  We've all been tempted to throw a club into the drink after a bad shot, but few of us can afford to actually do it.  Rory, on the other hand, has the cash to cover such indiscretions.  He did, however, have to play the remainder of the round down a club.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mascot Madness 2015

The 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is underway.  If you want hardcore harcourt analysis, hit up Joseph Nardone (@JosephNardone) on the Twitter machine or check out on the Interwebs.  If you want an in depth breakdown of the mascots in this year's madness then Banshee Sports is your destination.

The 2015 NCAA Tournament is the best mascot showcase in recent memory.  Out of 68 teams in the field, there are 59 different mascots.  That is the most different mascots since the dawn of this column in 2012.  Wildcats led the way with four entries in the tournament.  Bulldogs were second with three teams.  The only other duplicate mascots were Bears, Panthers, Tigers and Cowboys.  That leaves a lot of room for variety.

It's not just quantity in 2015.  It's quality, too.  Let's take a region by region look.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Midwest Region.  The Kentucky Wildcats are the overwhelming favorites to advance to the Final Four, but in terms of mascots, this is a very deep region.  This region has Bearcats, Boilermakers, Mountaineers, Terrapins, Crusaders and Shockers.  The Manhattan Jaspers, my favorite mascot from the 2014 tournament, are also in this region.  But, this year, I have to give the nod to a familiar power: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  It is hard to get credit simultaneously for tradition and trend-bucking, but Notre Dame finds a way.  Ethnic mascots have gone out of style in recent years.  Especially mascots that perpetrate a stereotype.  Notre Dame doubles down on the image by bringing a real, live, feisty redhead dressed like a leprechaun to represent their school.  The only way to improve on this mascot is to put a potato in one hand and a beer in the other.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
West Region.  This region lacks the mascot depth of the Midwest, but there are a few solid choices in this group.  Arkansas gets credit for creativity.  Instead of going with a boring "pig" or a slow-sounding "hog," Arkansas makes the same animal sound much more exciting by calling it a Razorback.  For the second year in a row, the Wofford Terriers stake a strong claim for best mascot in their region.  As anyone who follows my Dog Show posts knows, I am a sucker for terriers.  But, I am also a big fan of the "scholar" part of "scholar athlete."  Therefore, I have to pick a mascot that is based on a character from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  That would be the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.  The chanticleer is one of the primary character in "The Nun's Priest's Tale."

UC Irvine Anteaters
East Region.  Last year, the Providence Friars were the best mascot in the East Region.  The Friars are back to defend their title, but the competition is a bit tougher this time around.  The Great Danes of Albany are a strong contender in the East, but they ran up against a mascot juggernaut in the UC Irvine Anteaters.  Prior to this year's tournament, the last time I saw an anteater on TV, it was in an old Ant and the Aardvark cartoon.  In my opinion, you can never get too much anteater on your picture box.

NDSU Bison
South Region.  The San Diego State Aztecs and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks each won their region in last year's mascot tournament.  This year, the University of North Florida Osprey had a solid chance to knock both of them off.  It's a unique name, but the image and live mascot they have choosen is substandard.  That left the door open for the North Dakota State Bison to be the best mascot in the South Region.  Bison have traditionally been a favorite mascot at Banshee Sports, and NDSU does a good job with both the sideline and logo versions.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Banshee Sports Bracket Challenge

Last Place Prize if
50 Entries
The 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins this week.  That means it's time for the fourth annual Banshee Sports Bracket Challenge.  Not only will the winner have the chance to join the elite company of past champions Chris Carlberg, J.B. Erico and Joseph Lee, but as always, there is a fun prize on the line.

Last year, the Final Four was in Texas, so a salsa prize pack was up for grabs.  This year, the Final Four will be in Indianapolis.  Midwesterners love their ribs and pulled pork, so the winner of this year's competition will get a sixth-month subscription to the Barbecue Sauce of the Month Club.

We are going to add a little twist this year.  If we can get fifty people in the competition, we will have a special booby prize for the last placed entry.  So, please spread the word.  Twitter.  Email.  Facebook.  Whatever works to get your friends involved.

Sign up: Banshee Sports Bracket Challenge

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